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Largo: Season preview

Two strengths

1. Offensive line. The Packers will play to their strength behind an experienced line of blockers. Four of six starters (counting the tight end) return from last season's unit that helped pave the way for Brynn Harvey to rush for a county-record 2,500 yards. Harvey is gone, but his replacements will benefit from the big bodies up front.

2. Defense. With Largo's skill players receiving most of the headlines last season, the defense flew under the radar, despite allowing 84 points in the regular season, including four shutouts. That will not be the case this year, especially with seven returning starters on defense. The best unit is at linebacker, where Largo has Mike Marry, Sean Holte and Justin Shaw.

Coach: Rick Rodriguez (10th season, 68-24) | Last season: 13-1 | Class: 5A, District 10 | Colors: Light gold and royal blue

A warning to those suffering from Largo Fatigue Syndrome: You could be in for another long season. Following a year in which the Packers went undefeated in the regular season and advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals, the team is back this fall with plenty of returning starters and appears more than capable of another strong run.

Two questions

1. Can the Packers replace its star power? Largo loses a lot with the graduation of its top passer (Leonard Johnson), top rusher (Harvey) and top receiver (Reggie McCray). But the Packers believe they can offset those losses. Ryan Eppes (Countryside) takes over at quarterback. Marcel Durham, Holte and Myrick Gwynn will share running duties. Mike Lang and Jason Wine are go-to guys at receiver.

2. Can Largo repeat its performance? The Packers have been the most dominant team in the county the past three years, going a combined 27-3 in the regular season during that span. Largo has the pieces in place for another run.

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

Largo: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:31pm]
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